You can avoid many problems by maintaining the property in excellent condition. Here's how:
- Use a written checklist to inspect the premises and fix any problems before new tenants move in.
- Encourage tenants to immediately report safety or security problems such as plumbing, heating, broken doors or steps -- whether in the tenant's unit or in common areas such as hallways and parking garages.
- Keep a written log of all tenant complaints and repair requests with details as to how and when problems were fixed.
- Handle urgent repairs as soon as possible -- take care of any safety issues within 24 hours. Keep tenants informed as to when and how the repairs will be made.
- Twice a year, give tenants a checklist on which to report potential safety hazards or maintenance problems that might have been overlooked. Use the same checklist to personally inspect all rental units once a year.
Also, your commitment to repair and maintenance procedures should be clearly set out in the lease or rental agreement.